To the "gutsy" facebook posters…

“Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment – yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won’t have the guts to copy and repost this. I DID……………………….”

For those of you with Facebook accounts, you have no doubt seen this message or some version of this posted on a friend’s wall. Maybe you have even been one of the “gutsy” ones, as the status proclaims, to post this.

I have seen this status in various versions several times and every time I see it, I get just a little more annoyed. I get little more annoyed at the ignorance and prejudice that accompany a statement like this.

No one in this country can really deny the truths to this statement. We do have millions of homeless persons, hungry children, elderly without meds, and mentally ill without treatment. It’s true, that’s not the annoying part of the statement to me. What irks me is the fact that the poster can’t see the big picture. Unlike Haiti, we don’t have two million homeless people living in tiny plastic tents, surrounded by hunger, disease, and raw sewage in America. That is why we give to Haiti and other impoverished countries around the world.

Although disaster relief and living conditions in New Orleans and the south were less than stellar after Hurricane Katrina struck our own shores, I can’t imagine that the living conditions (although atrocious in some places) came close to rivaling what is currently happening in Haiti.

Or take the Democratic Republic of Congo where war has been raging since the 1990’s. Millions have died due to starvation and disease, besides the casualties of the armies perpetuating the fighting. Children as young as seven are plucked from their homes and schools and forced to fight in rebel armies. Those that are too small to hold a gun are given whistles and sent to the front lines to make noise in attempts to scare the opposing army. Then they take the first round of fire. I can honestly tell you that I have never once worried that something this horrible would ever happen to one of my kids living in the United States. I can’t imagine you have either. I can’t begin to comprehend the fear and horror that families of the Congo live in every day.

Or what about the rest of the billions around the world that are starving or dying due to infectious diseases caused by a lack of clean water? Most of us in the United States can say we have clean water and access to food. Yes, poverty and starvation happen in America. Yes, this is intolerable but in America there is almost always hope and help. I am guessing people in third world countries don’t have much of that.

So to all the “gutsy” Facebook posters bashing those in America that see beyond our shores to the plights of people less fortunate than us, that is why we Americans give to people in Haiti and around the world. That is why we aren’t “gutsy” enough to copy and repost.

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